Somewhere behind closed doors in Illinois, Republicans and Democrats are scrambling to field the perfect candidate to replace Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.). Ah yes, we know Burris isn't the resigning type, but in case he is ever expelled from the Senate or chooses resignation —making it tough on his plans to etch "senator" onto his mausoleum — both parties want to be prepared for the special election of 2010 or one that could come far sooner.

With the chorus for resignation growing louder in Illinois, there will be no need for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to acknowledge vindication. And I want to acknowledge that I blamed Democratic leaders and President Obama for dragging their feet on seating Burris since I thought he was making them look bad with his rainy press conferences.

Though Burris has now changed his story four times and admitted to trying to raise money for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), he has chosen to blame the media for trying to ruin his reputation. Reporting the facts, on the new and voluntarily submitted affidavit that has torpedoed him, is apparently a mean thing us members of the media have done.

Maybe alarm bells should have gone off when Burris was asked in a Jan. 8 inquiry, "Did you talk to any members of the governor's staff, or anyone closely related to the governor, including family members, or any lobbyists connected with him, including — let me throw out some names — John Harris, Rob Blagojevich, Doug Scofield, Bob Greenleaf, Lon Monk, John Wyma? Did you talk with anyone associated with the governor about your desire to seek the appointment prior to the governor's arrest?" and Burris, before responding, consulted with counsel. He then replied, "I talked to some friends about my desire to be appointed, yes." When the questioner followed up with specific names again, Burris said, "I mean, I don't know who you want as my friends that I consider as persons."

Other favorite Burris quotes: "I felt I passed the test with flying colors," he said following his false testimony to the Illinois State Legislature; "I conducted myself with honor and integrity," he told reporters; "There were never inappropriate conversations between me and anyone else," he said Tuesday during the ensuing circus.

You can tell that Burris believes that the media is out to get him, that he has behaved honestly and on and on. It almost seems as if Burris believes that wanting something as badly as he wanted Barack Obama's Senate seat justified the means. And he won't go voluntarily — but in any event, it's time for Republicans and Democrats to ready their contenders to replace Burris.


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